Building Fabric

The need to maintain a comfortable temperature within the house and the  cost of fuel (energy) has required higher standards of construction to reduce  energy consumption within the home.

Construction techniques have evolved over  time, with the need for better performance to reduce energy identified after  the oil crisis of the 1970s. The need to maintain a comfortable temperature  within the house depends on how well insulated it is. If the insulation is  insufficient, energy can be used to heat space and water in the home. But there  is an on-going cost in supplying this energy. Therefore, there is a direct  relationship between energy efficiency within the home and cost15,16.

Building Regulations and their by-law predecessors have required  insulation in most buildings since 1945. More recently, the UK has introduced a  minimum fabric energy efficiency and carbon reduction policy to be implemented  by 2016. This aims to improve the performance building fabric. Current design  guides, such as the Code for Sustainable Homes22, improve the  overall environmental performance of new housing.  However, these regulations do not in  themselves support healthy living and do not address the behavioural changes  necessary to encourage a sustainable or healthy lifestyle. 

Whilst domestic energy use has changed very  little since 1965 the proliferation of electrical appliances within the home  has almost cancelled out the improvements in the fabric of the building, emphasising  the importance of user behaviour.